Today I’m sharing about why I love first looks! I love helping my brides come up with the best timelines possible to ensure their day runs smoothly and stress-free, and having a first look is one of the best ways to avoid stress at your wedding! While I think that having a first look is the best way to get the most out of your portrait time, I understand that sometimes it’s just not possible to have a first look, so I love to help out and find a way to get the best portraits. Next week I’m going to share a post on how to have the best portraits when you don’t have a first look! Stay tuned! We all know that first looks save time, but there’s one reason I think they are so great that I didn’t realize until I got married, so be sure to keep reading until the end!
1. First Looks Save Time After the Ceremony so your guests aren’t kept waiting
This one is obvious! If you aren’t having a first look, there really are A LOT of photos that need to be taken after the ceremony! All of the family formals, photos of the full bridal party, AND your couple portraits! I recommend to my clients that they schedule at least 30 minutes of portrait time with just the two of them. After all, it is your wedding day! You’ve spent a lot of time and money on your dress, makeup, a tux, and getting all dressed up to be the fanciest you’ll ever look! Doesn’t it make sense to have as much time documenting that as possible? When you add up 30 minutes of family formals (it really does take that long), 10 minutes for bridal party photos, and 30 minutes couple portraits, it is over an hour of shooting! The sad reality is that most of the time when couples don’t do a first look, they don’t get a full 30 minutes of portrait time. Often I am left with just 10 minutes of the two of them because nobody wants to keep the guests waiting that long! And none of the guests want to wait that long!
With a first look, you can do all of the couple portraits and bridal party portraits before the wedding. Some couples even go the extra mile and get their family to arrive early so that we can take the family formals early as well, meaning after the wedding they are free to go straight to the reception and get the party started!
2. First Looks allow you to get more photos together
This is another no-brainer, so I don’t need to say a lot about it! If you can plan a first look, you will get more portrait time than if you are doing all the photos after the ceremony (unless you do the photos after the reception, but more on that next week!). More time shooting means, you guessed it, more photos delivered!
3. First Looks Allow for More Creativity In The Portrait Session
I mentioned before that I often only get 10 minutes of portrait time with the couple when they don’t do a first look. I try to expand this time by planning a 10-minute sunset session during the reception, but even with that, each of those 10-minute sessions are so fast paced! Thankfully, having only 10 minutes of portraits with the couple doesn’t scare me because I use the Katelyn James Posing Evolution! We can get so many photos in a short amount of time. However, zooming through poses doesn’t give us time to warm up and get comfortable with each other. With an ideal timeline that includes a first look, I can have 30 minutes to an hour of portrait time with the couple. That means I have time to move beyond standard must-have poses! We can get creative and have FUN because we aren’t worried about getting everything done quickly!
4. First Looks Allow For a More Genuine Reaction from Your Groom
I have to be honest here. I have never been the main shooter for a wedding where the groom got visibly emotional seeing his bride for the first time at the ceremony. I HAVE seen grooms get very emotional during first looks! And, the times I have seen an emotional groom during the wedding, they had a first look too! Granted, this might just be the personalities of the grooms for those particular weddings, but I think it says something when I’ve seen several grooms cry during a first look, but only one a few cry during a ceremony, and they had already seen her already at the first look! Think about it. Most people are not going to be themselves completely when they have a hundred people staring at them and waiting for their reaction! I, myself am a VERY emotional person, but during my wedding I intentionally held back tears because I didn’t want anyone to see me cry! It’s just natural to be more reserved in front of people. If you ask most people who have done a first look, they will say that seeing each other beforehand did not make the big moment during the ceremony less emotional! In fact, I think they would say that having a first look made them more excited!
I need to mention a caveat. I also do first looks where the groom doesn’t get super emotional! That’s just because people are different! Don’t be upset if you are planning a first look and expect your groom to cry but then he doesn’t! You know if your guy is emotional or more reserved!
The next reason is my favorite reason…
5. First looks allow you to have alone time with your groom at your wedding
Until I got married, I had never thought of this reason! Wedding days are CRAZY BUSY. There are so may things going on, so many people to see, so many things to do. The bride and groom will always have people asking them questions, wanting to talk to them, coming up to check on them, etc. etc. These people are all well meaning and just want to help out or see them! But there really is no privacy once you start interacting with your extended family and guests! The whole day is a fast-paced blur!
I chose to do a first look with my sweet hubby not because of all of the reasons I mentioned above, but because we saved our first kiss for our wedding day, and neither of us wanted our first kiss to be in front of everyone! So we planned 30 minutes to be alone before the ceremony after the first look. No photographers, no friends, no family, just us. Looking back, I am SO THANKFUL that we had time alone together! There is something so special about hugging your man alone at the place where you will say “I DO.” We had a few minutes to breathe, laugh, hug, oh yeah, and kiss ALONE.
I know what you’re thinking, “Christi, there’s plenty of alone time after the wedding because, well, honeymoon!” I know! But so much planning goes into your actual wedding, and I think it’s a shame that most people don’t even get to enjoy all of that together because they are too busy interacting with guests! Now I encourage all my brides to plan as much alone time together as they can, even without me being there. I can be shooting details while they hang out!
There you have it! My top 5 reasons for loving first looks! Stay tuned for next week’s post when I talk about how to get the most out of your portrait time if you can’t do a first look!